Every since Black Friday, online poker continues to be banned in the United States and only Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware have so far lifted the online poker ban. Washington state not only banned online poker but was the only state to make it punishable with jail.
Things might change in Washington as lawmakers in the state are contemplating lifting the ban on online poker and making it legal so that the state can benefit from the lucrative online poker industry and use those funds to further develop the state of Washington.
While online poker revenue in Nevada and New Jersey have declined in 2014, Washington lawmakers believe that there is a huge online poker market in the state and it’s the right time to lift the ban on online poker. Democrat Sherry Appleton recently introduced House Bill 1114 into the legislature that will look to legalize poker for online real-money play.
Lawmakers in Washington have yet to come up with a tax structure to impose on the online poker market and are also yet to work out the rules and regulations that would govern the online poker market. The state needs to ensure that it has a robust regulation in place to protect its people from being targeted online. Money laundering, personal and financial information breaches and tax evasion are some of the main issues that must be carefully addressed before legalizing online poker.
House Bill 1114 goes on to state that
Despite a lack of regulation due to prohibition, playing poker over the internet remains popular with Washington state players. To better protect the people of Washington from potential danger from, and to maintain oversight of the systems used to carry out internet poker, the legislature finds it to be in the interest of the people to establish a regulatory framework by which entities, as authorized by the Washington state gambling commission or a tribal regulator, may offer poker games to players within Washington state over the internet.
The process to legalize online poker in Washington is a long drawn out one. The bill has to analyzed by lawmakers and will most likely have to be amended after feedback from Washington state officials is received. Once the amended bill is presented, state officials will have to finalize on a tax structure for the online poker market. If the bill does get approved, Washington will most likely have online poker websites live in 2016.